2018 Ends With Higher Retirement Backlog Than the Year Before

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By on January 9, 2019 in Retirement with 0 Comments

Line graph showing the history of the OPM retirement applications backlog from October 2017 to December 2018

December was a quiet month for new retirement applications to close out 2018, but the backlog ended up much higher than it did in the year before.

The Office of Personnel Management has released its latest monthly report on the retirement backlog which shows that only 5,782 new claims came in and the backlog dropped by almost 6% from November to December to 18,019.

However, the backlog at the end of 2018 is 24% higher than it was at the end of 2017. This will be significant since January and February are normally the months when the most new applications come pouring in from the end of the calendar year, so expect to see it go much higher.

It will be interesting to see what role the shutdown plays in the retirement backlog as well. OPM has said that its Retirement Services division is not subject to furlough and continues work as normal during a shutdown, so that is good news for anyone who has put in a retirement application during the shutdown. OPM says that new retirees will get an interim annuity payment during this time until the application is processed.

However, OPM says that new retirees will likely experience some delay because OPM must wait on other agencies to submit all of the information needed to process retirement applications, and some of these agencies may not be operating during a government furlough.

Month Claims Received Claims Processed Inventory (Steady state goal is 13,000) Monthly Average Processing Time in Days FYTD Average Processing Time in Days
Oct-17 8,850 6,818 18,860 64 64
Nov-17 5,572 5,138 19,294 68 66
Dec-17 5,568 10,347 14,515 60 63
Jan-18 14,590 8,638 20,467 63 63
Feb-18 13,290 9,532 24,225 46 59
Mar-18 7,767 13,262 18,730 49 57
Apr-18 8,390 9,631 17,489 58 57
May-18 7,625 7,090 18,024 58 58
Jun-18 9,397 9,223 18,198 65 59
Jul-18 8,281 8,145 18,334 57 59
Aug-18 8,826 9,647 17,513 56 58
Sep-18 7,142 7,027 17,628 64 59
Oct-18 9,012 6,911 19,729 63 63
Nov-18 7,510 8,077 19,162 61 62
Dec-18 5,782 6,925 18,019 60 61


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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.